If Arusha is my favorite park, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area is the location of my dream job.
The Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA) is a unique conservation site not only in Tanzania but throughout the world. Unlike many other similar projects the NCA strives to “reconcile environmental conservation and human development.” Administered in 1959, it is an experiment in multiple land use where pastoralism, conservation and tourism can coexist. The human inhabitants are primarily Masai who were relocated from the Serengeti to the North in the 1950s when the Serengeti was cleared of all human use. The historic relationship between the NCA and its human residents is shady and was riddled with challenges, especially concerning population growth, but the goals of the park stand strong.
The jewel of the NCA is the Crater – the largest unflodded and unbroken caldera in the world. (In the crater human led grazing is allowed but not settlement). This past week I had the unbelievable priviledge of driving through it for an entire day. It is a zoo of wild animals. I saw more zebra, wildebeest, flamingos and buffalo than I could count. I also spotted black rhinos, hyenas, and jackals for the first time in my life.
Every day I’m reminded how lucky I am to be here and to be experiencing these things. This really is the stuff of dreams.